TOPS NEWS November 2015


The old Cooper factory in Hollyfield Road, Surbiton, has been made a Grade 2 Listed Building.


Thurrock council in Essex is piloting a scheme which will give parent and teacher volunteers the power to issue fines to inconsiderate motorists who park outside school gates.


Simon Hope’s H&H auction house has joined up with Keno Brothers of New York.  And in the UK TOPS member James Wheeler of Black & White garage, has joined H&H as Senior motorcar specialist.


Triumph Motorcycles has been fined $1.4m and ordered to pay $500,000 to improve safety practices after a recall of 1,300 bikes for steering problems.


Snoozebox (temporary accommodation at events) hopes to make a profit in 2016 despite a continuing loss for 2015.


Apple lost a bidding war for the ex Top Gear stars Clarkson, Hammond and May who signed with Amazon for a reported £160m.  The trio were filming on the circuit at Portimao just before our race meeting.   


North Yorkshire Police advertised for drivers for their squad cars, CCTV camera monitoring, and speed radar guns.  The jobs are unpaid but there were many applicants.


Nissan is to invest £100m in its Sunderland plant to build the SUV styled ’Juke’.


The AA has added a catalogue of 1,000 dashboard symbols to its App to help drivers understand the warning lights on their dashboard.  They receive c.17,000 calls about these lights every month.


Motorists are puzzled by signs which appeared on an estate in east London warning drivers to keep their speed to 9 miles per hour.    


The government has ordered that roadworks on motorways be restricted to 2 miles after complaints that some speed restrictions extended to about 20 miles.


The Lutz Pathfinder is a small two-seater driverless pod, fully electric car, which can travel for 40 miles between charges at up to 15 mph.  It is called by a smartphone app and has been tested in Milton Keynes. 


Humberside police admit that police with speed cameras have been hiding in tractors and horseboxes to catch motorists speeding on rural roads. 


148,426 motorists were caught speeding last year and given a £100 fine and 3 points.  Concern has been voiced over dozens of digital stealth speed cameras on the motorway which have been painted grey instead of yellow.  “The objective of speed cameras should be to slow traffic down, not catch out motorists” said Edmund King of the AA.


According to road safety charity Brake, 21% of authorities are introducing widespread 20 mph zones and a further 36% are carrying out trials.


Google’s robot cars are being taught to cut corners instead of making wide turns.

Bedfordshire Police are intending to put automatic speed cameras on a stretch of the M1 (J 10-13) and fine any motorists exceeding 70 mph.  However the head of Policing has described the plans as “fundamentally wrong”. In 2010, 447,724 drivers opted to attend Speed Awareness courses rather than get points on their licence.  By 2014 the number had risen to 1.19 million. The police get the money from courses.



The VW crisis over diesel cheat devices continues with 2.1 million Audis and 1.2 million Skodas also involved.  So far VW has recalled 1.2 million cars in the UK.  Germany's motor vehicle regulator has widened its emissions probe to 23 domestic and foreign car brands.



A new law in Paris allows bicycles to turn right or go straight across at a T-junction if the road is clear – even when the lights are red. Traffic lights for bicycles will be placed under the traffic lights for cars. 


700 drivers have been fined over £24,000 in just 2 months for overstaying a 2 minute waiting time at Nottingham railway station.


Kent County Council has launched a procurement to convert their speed cameras from wet film to digital.  The contract value varies from £1m to £10m.


Theft of blue parking badges for disabled drivers has doubled in the last year to 1,756.  The LGA estimates a badge could save £6,000 in parking fees.  2.5 million disabled people hold blue badges.


The number of people injured on London’s roads increased by 13% last year but fatalities declined.


French motorcycle gendarmes (police) are to use drones to monitor dangerous drivers due to a high increase in accident fatalities.  500 new speed cameras are to be installed on French motorways although some may be dummies.  Foreign drivers are among the worst offenders and will be fined and/or banned from French roads.


Space technology is being used so that cars will be able to “talk” to each other and give hazard warnings when there is no normal communication system – as in tunnels.


Sevenoaks council has been accused of snobbery over a bid to ban road names linked to the industrial past, ordering that names such as Gasworks Road, Tip Lane or Coalpit Lane are 'aesthetically unsuitable'.


The Met Police have confirmed that the “hoverboard” self-balancing scooters are illegal for use on roads or pavements and are only allowed on private property. Several petitions objecting to this ruling have been raised.

The RAC has warned of a potential diesel drought as major refineries have reduced from 9 to 6 since 2009.


Playboys who roar through Knightsbridge in supercars should instead pit themselves against young British racers on the track, according to Alain de Cadenet who criticised the “vulgar exhibitionism” of the summer season that sees millionaires from the Arab states shipping in their ultra high-spec cars to cruise west London.


1500  black cab drivers brought Central London to a halt in protest against TfL's decision to licence hundreds of new minicabs every week (88,149  last year) and the growth of mobile phone Apps such as Uber. Black cab driver Jason Hillier said it took 4 years to pass The Knowledge to obtain a licence whereas the mini cab drivers have no knowledge and no safety measures in place.

A driver clocked at 112 mph on a road in Vermont told police he was heading to traffic court to take care of a speeding ticket.


Daniel Tredget, 24, from Sidcup, was filling up his Vauxhall Zafira with petrol at the Shell Blendon garage in Blackfen Road when he claims the pump was suddenly switched off because the staff decided he wasn’t going to pay.


Traffic on the M6 Toll road rose over 9% in the 1st quarter of 2015.


UberJEK, the latest in a series of smartphone-based motorbike taxi-booking services in Jakarta,  has pledged to only hire drivers who pass a "body odour test" as it goes on a recruiting drive before starting operations next year.


Four out of five people fail their first driving test.  The transport secretary is to consider returning some of the £62 test fee to those who pass.


316 billion miles of traffic have been recorded on Britain’s roads in the past year.  The average speed on A roads 7 am – 10 am was 23.6 mph due to congestion.


Russian police have smashed a caviar smuggling operation after stopping a speedinghearse with half-a-ton of black caviar hidden in a coffin and no body.  The driver and his accomplice swore they had no idea they were loaded with an illegal caviar cargo instead of a corpse but had been paid 25,000 roubles to drive it to a morgue.

Abridged version of TOPS NEWS sent to members